Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Dear Colleague,

My name is Brandon Kuczenski, I’m an Associate Researcher in industrial ecology at UCSB. I’m one of thousands that are in support of forming a union of Researchers, Specialists and Project Scientists at UC, so that Academic Researchers (ARs) have more say in UC’s policies and processes that affect our work and careers. If you’ve not yet signed an authorization card, can you please reply to this email so that we can make sure you are counted in this hugely important process?

The work I and other ARs do contributes to the UC in many ways, including running research labs, publishing papers, mentoring students, and bringing in grants. Given the competitiveness of research funding, I think the University could do more to support ARs. For instance, a big share of my grant money goes to “indirect costs” that keep the University running. That includes the cost of benefits for everyone else, from tenured faculty to administrative staff to groundskeepers and security. Yet when it comes to my own benefits, I’m on the hook for those too – there is no UC contribution, and no safety net if research awards are delayed. By pitching in to cover our benefits costs, the University could make our grant money go further and better retain talented professional researchers. Additionally, by providing benefits we currently lack – like parental leave – the University could empower us to plan our lives the way our colleagues on faculty and staff already can.

If you agree that we should have a say in how UC administration determines our working conditions, please take a moment to provide feedback on what is important (or unimportant) to you through filling out our bargaining survey. Also please check out AR Working Conditions Comparison chart and more at our website. Lastly, if you’ve not yet filled out an authorization card or are aware of a colleague who has not yet filled out a card, please reply to this email!

Thank you for making your voice heard and for helping to make UC a better place for all researchers!


Brandon Kuczenski